The 42nd Annual New England Mid-Winter Surfing Championships
by Mr Christian on March 3, 2010
by Peter Pan|photos Joe McGovern
The 42nd Annual new England Mid-Winter Surfing Championship organizers got just what they had hoped for. There were big waves, icy cold ocean water, and snow flurries for the event. It was only fitting that the nasty overhead swell was courtesy of an intense winter storm system that buried much of the northeast in over two feet of snow the night before. The Narragansett Town Beach, infamous site of many of these mid-winter contests, displayed its’ typical nor’easter swell form. Thick and steep swells made for elevator style take-offs and no mercy shown shut downs.
“It’s evident that if you live and surf here you can find those rare makeable barrels,” said ESA Co-Director Ron Belanger. Belanger also noted that there were some unusually strong rip tides and currents that made paddling through the heavy close-out sections more difficult than usual. Several competitors had to forgo their final heats due to the brutal New England air temperatures.
Little Compton’s Pat Brown was so numb after two straight heats in the overhead smashers, he opted out of the Open Division Final. “I was shaking so much after getting caught inside in the last heat, I figured I would be too fatigued to go back out again,” said Pat with purple lips quivering. Another Junior Men’s competitor Andy Ragosta admitted that he should not have gone out for a pre-contest practice session. “That was a big mistake,” he said. “That extra time in the water just drained my energy for the contest. By the third heat, I was too cold to go back out.”
The big star of the tournament was Narragansett’s James Pilkington, who charged the biggest peaks and made it through the sections when it counted. He grabbed the nastiest set wave in both the Junior Men’s Final and Open Division Final to nail down easy wins in both. Pilkington showed his local wave knowledge by moving to the rare spots where you could make the waves, and then did it. Rookie competitor from Massachusetts South Shore, Ray Jarvis made an impressive showing at his first ESA event. Jarvis found the best wave of the heat and ripped it to a win in the Master Shortboard Final. He gave James Pilkington a run for his money in the Open Final with a solid second place showing.
Nantasket’s Naoto Ohashi showed why he is the #1 rated Men’s longboarder in New England when he trimmed his way to victory on two harsh looking rights off the seawall to win the title over Westerly’s Jarrett Parker. Top Peruvian transplant Jose Galvez pulled off some of the most powerful moves in the contest, as he ripped it off the top with a couple of big floaters to take the Senior Men’s title over Ron Belanger.
The icy cold kept the female ranks light. Sara Parker of Westerly and Kitty Pechet were the only two women to paddle out in the 32 degree waters. Sara took the Women’s and Women’s Longboard crowns while Kitty captured the Grand Legends and Senior Women’s Longboard titles. In the final elder events, Narragansett’s Peter Pan managed to find several big right peaks that kept going, as he won both the Legends and Legends Longboard Finals over Pawtucket’s Tim Brooks.
All finalists were stoked to get free hot chocolate and coffee courtesy of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Lauren Russo of Surfrider Foundation was glad to help out. “It was cold out here today,” she said. “But everyone was having a good time. We even got a few new members to join the organization despite the cold.” Thanks to Eastern Surfing Association sponsor Hyperflex Wetsuits, everyone also got to go home with a pair of new 6mm winter Oven Mitts. “This is way better than a trophy,” said Narragansett’s Andy Ragosta. “In this weather, we need warm mitts instead of a plastic trophy.”
Final Results of the 42nd Annual New England Mid-Winter Surfing Championships held in 4-8 foot heavy surf at the Narragansett Town Beach on February 27th, 2010. Sponsors included the Eastern Surfing Association, Gansett Juice Surf Shop, Hyperflex Wetsuits, and Surfrider Foundation of Rhode Island.
1. Peter Pan
Senior Women Longboard